There has been a growing interest in customer experience (CX) over the past decade as every touchpoint directly affects a customer’s perception and feelings about the brand. The rise of value put on CX has coincided with the migration of touch points taking place partially or entirely in the digital realm.
Interest for the term ‘customer experience’ in the past decade Source: Google trends
listed just over 100 solutions in the CX category. In the 2020 version, the Content and Experience category includes 1,936 martech solutions, an 1800% increase!
In the past eighteen months, consumers had little choice but increasingly purchasing goods and services online. This inclination is likely to last: An overwhelming majority (80%) of consumers who increased their digital purchasing footprint during the pandemic expect to continue to do so in the future. As organizations adjust to this new reality, perhaps it is also time they re-assess their CX efforts and investments. A suggests exactly that: Organizations must approach CX in a more holistic way – the business of experience, or BX, which allows them to reimagine their entire business and stimulate new growth.
This post is first in a two-part series. Here, we will review three trends acting as catalysts to the evolution from customer experience to business experience. Next, we will review four approaches recommended by Accenture to become a business experience company that consistently outperforms its peers and how a business and innovation platform can play a key role in this new approach.
Trend 1: Customer Demands Are Evolving Rapidly
41% of the CEOs surveyed said they believe an inability to respond quickly to changing conditions and customer habits is a key barrier to the COVID-19 health crisis. Savvy customers are accustomed to experiences enhanced by digital technologies. They expect organizations they transact with to deliver the same superior experience they have felt when engaging with Airbnb (places to stay), Zappos (shoes, clothing) or Tesla (automobile). According to Accenture, “About 61% of leading companies surveyed say their customers are shaped by the most hyper-relevant, real-time and dynamic experiences they encounter across all industries and those experiences impact how and why they innovate compared to just 33% for their peers.”
Trend 2: Great Customer Experience Has Become Mainstream
To meet customer expectations, companies continue to make significant investments in customer experience and its multiple touch points – store staff armed with mobile devices; apps with built-in loyalty program and rewards; AI chatbots; appealing and intuitive web stores; etc. Despite the continued investment, 85% of brands report languishing growth from their investments in CX.
One theory why is that we are seeing a certain CX homogenization. For example, parts of customer experience – such as online ordering of discrete products – are now fairly standardized. The difference between competitors is becoming marginal. When purchasing the latest pair of noise-cancelling headphones, customer experiences from Amazon, Best Buy or your local retailer are similar: All of them are equally good, fast, and convenient. None is a clear winner over the other two. That brings us to the third and last trend – and perhaps the most disruptive one.
Trend 3: Customers Demand Purpose and Accountability
8 out 10 consumers say a company’s purpose is at least as important to them as customer experience itself. This is not a new trend, but it’s certainly one that has accelerated. And there’s no turning back as younger consumers from (ages 18-39) favor fidelity factors beyond the traditional customer experience more than older consumers (ages 40+):
Fidelity Factor Consumers Ages 18-39 Consumers Ages 40+
Sourcing services and materials in highly ethical ways 63% 58%
Supporting and acting upon societal and cultural causes I believe in 57% 45%
Providing credible “green” credentials, minimizing harm on environment, investing in sustainability 53% 46%
Source: Accenture; Generation P(urpose)
These younger consumers are not afraid to put their money in what they believe: 51% have moved away from a brand or company that disappointed them based on statements or actions on a particular social issue, compared with just 37% of consumers over 40. The best companies are taking notice and 60% acknowledge that their business success depends on standing for something beyond the products and services they offer, compared to just 30% for lower-performing peers.
Three key trends are changing customer experience:
- Customer expectations are taking into consideration the best experiences
- Parts of customer experience are becoming standardized, making it harder to stand out.
- A company’s purpose is at least as important as customer experience with that company, especially for younger consumers (ages 18-39).